KW 20: More infectious diseases occur in the pandemic, WHO wants to test natural medicine, Africa’s forgotten World War II veterans

– NEWS –

More infectious diseases occur in the pandemic: Since the resources of African health care systems are currently focused on coronavirus containment, other infectious diseases are being neglected – and are spreading again. In recent weeks, measles vaccination campaigns have been suspended. Malaria threatens locals and new cases of Ebola and Polio have once again been reported. A celebration had already been planned to mark the end of polio, but it will probably be canceled if the disease spreads again. In many African countries, advances in health care over the past decades are in danger of being lost again.

WHO wants to test natural medicine: The World Health Organization (WHO) and the African Union (AU) want to clinically test natural medicine. While the institutions warn of alleged herbal miracle drugs, they also demand that medical clinical standards be met in Africa as well as in other regions of the world. A company in Madagascar recently developed a potion that it advertised as a remedy for the coronavirus because it was supposed to strengthen the immune system. Guinea-Bissau ordered large quantities of the herbal cocktail, and other countries made inquiries as well. Now the AU and WHO want to scientifically approach the topic so that citizens receive quality information about medicinal substances.

Tourists are staying away – conservationists fear negative consequences for wild animals: There are hardly any tourists in Africa’s wildlife parks due to the coronavirus pandemic – revenue is plummeting. Not only are jobs threatened by the lack of travelers, rangers in the wildlife parks fear that they are running out of the means to protect the animals in the parks from poachers. Private protected areas are now hoping for donations to cushion at least part of their financial losses and ward off poachers who are still trying to shoot animals such as elephants to sell the tusks on the black market.

South Africa starts trial using TB vaccine against coronavirus: Health care workers are at the center of a coronavirus vaccine trial in South Africa. The process is testing the efficacy of BCG – Bacille Calmette-Guerin, a tuberculosis vaccine, against COVID-19. 250 participants have so far been given the injection, and another 250 given a placebo. Prof Andreas Diacon of Task, told the AFP news agency that children immunized with BCG tended to suffer less from respiratory illness like asthma. The WHO will have to evaluate the outcome of such trials for more work to continue on their efficacy.

Easing coronavirus restrictions: In Nigeria, the initial restrictions to fight the virus will be removed in six weeks. The first easing has already taken place in the metropolises: most shops have reopened. People have to wear face masks and comply with social distancing rules in public spaces. A relaxation of containment measures is also expected to take place in Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Namibia. South Africa and Ghana have already decided to gradually open up again.

Former VW plant in South Africa converted into coronavirus clinic: The Eastern Cape government has received a major boost in its effort to fight the pandemic after the German government and Volkswagen pledged R107 million for the construction of a field hospital at an unused VW plant in Port Elizabeth. The facility will be made possible after Volkswagen agreed to convert its Korsten plant into a temporary field hospital. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development donated €5.2 million, while VW pledged R28 million.

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Africa’s forgotten World War II veterans: More than a million African soldiers served in colonial armies in World War II. Some served in Africa or Europe; others fought on battlegrounds in the Middle East or as far afield as India, Myanmar and the Pacific Islands. Many veterans experienced prejudice during the war and little gratitude or compensation for their services afterwards. Some progress has been made – at least symbolically. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Allied landing in Provence in southern France, President Emmanuel Macron expressed gratitude for the contribution of African soldiers in defeating the German forces occupying France.

Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia: Officially, 750,000 refugees live in Ethiopia – but the undisclosed number is estimated to be much higher. A significant part of them come from neighboring Eritrea, which has been categorized as an authoritarian military dictatorship since Ethiopia gained independence in 1993. Since then there have been no elections in the country, and the country’s military service, which is mandatory for men and women – has been compared to forced labor by Amnesty International. A refugee camp on the border of Ethiopia and Eritrea could soon be closed. For many, fleeing means living on the verge of illegality – because their papers are often lost or missing.

Conflicts between colonialism and post-colonialism: Historians and anthropologists are divided over the question of what life was like during colonialism. While the image of absolute power over colonialized people has long been rejected, post-colonial authors believe that colonialism is comparable to the Holocaust. They see deep lines of conflict with regard to racism, devaluation and discrimination that continue to this day. There is also controversy over the path to independence – post-colonialists emphasize the violence and struggle of many people on the way to their own state, while other researchers point out that the system transition was much smoother.


Around 100,000 people in Kenya have lost their homes due to a severe flood.


“In Ethiopia, exports to Europe have decreased by a third. Factories are closing, 1.5 million jobs are already lost. Many millions of people are slipping into poverty.”

German Development Minister Gerd Müller has warned of the consequences of the coronavirus crisis.


3D printer joins South Africa virus fight: There is a global scarcity of protective equipment and few countries are sufficiently prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. In South Africa, the University of Pretoria uses its 3D printer to make face shields.

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